10 of the most scenic places
- Yorkshire Dales
- The Jurassic Coast
- Lake District
- Norfolk Broads
- Isle of Skye
From the Isle of Skye’s rugged cliffs at the top of Scotland to the pastel-painted fishing harbours on the most southerly tip of Cornwall, the UK is home to boundless beautiful destinations. This is the landscape that inspired some of the world’s most prolific thinkers, artists and poets, from Wordsworth to Banksy.
25 Best Destinations in the UK according to Travel Photographers
Now, with domestic travel back on the table and international travel soon on the cards, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit. And, to help us take on the insurmountable task, we asked some of the UK’s top travel photographers to share their favourite spots. From pulsing city centres to the remotest mountainscapes in the country, here are 25 of the best destinations according to travel photographers.
Toby Mitchell (@_tobymitchell)
Honey-hued Bath is a favourite with travel photographer Tony Mitchell. Describing what he loves best about the Georgian spa town, he says: “I adore Bath and the bubble-like sense of reality it gives you – the beauty, peace and history make it one of the coolest places to live on earth.” Tony was born and raised in Bath so some may say he’s biased, but who wouldn’t be charmed by its sweeping Georgian crescents, ancient ruins and green rolling countryside? With sights like the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths to explore, it’s one of the most photogenic cities in the UK.
2. Yorkshire Dales
Adam Evans (@adamevansoutdoors)
Outdoors and adventure photographer Adam can’t get enough of the Yorkshire Dales and says: “I visited this national park for the first time around two years ago now. I instantly knew this is a place I’d want to come back to again and again. The charm of the Dales’ villages combined with the rugged surrounding landscape makes it the perfect place to head to in the Autumn and Winter. The smell of log fires in the air as you wander back from braving the elements for a good meal and a pint is unbeatable…”
3. The Jurassic Coast, Dorset and Devon
Harry Sinclaire (@harrysinclairphotography)
The Jurassic Coast offers 96 miles of epic coastline in the South of England, between Exmouth in Devon and Studland Bay in Dorset. It’s travel photographer Harry’s favourite location in the UK. Speaking about its striking landscape, he says: “It’s full of natural beauty, from the likes of Durdle Door, Pulpit Rock, Old Harry Rocks and plenty more. The Jurassic Coast was actually inscribed on the World Heritage List back in 2001 and ranks among the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon as one of the natural wonders of the world. So, it’s definitely worth checking out!”
4. Lake District
Ruth Allen (@whitepeak_ruth)
Ruth is based in the White Peak in Derbyshire, but the Lake District has a special place in her heart. Speaking about the national park, she says: “Ambleside is picture-perfect from any angle, in any weather. It’s the ultimate destination in England for hills, swims and cakes. Nowhere else can satisfy the brief for a big mountain day, followed by a refreshing lakeland swim in freshwater, topped off with an abundance of options for replenishing the calories lost! Walk the Fairfield Horseshoe, then have a swim in Rydal Water or Windermere, and round out the day with local food from one of the many bakeries, cafes or restaurants in the town centre.”
5. Norfolk Broads
Holly Farrier (@hollyfarrierphotography)
For travel photographer Holly, it’s hard to beat Norfolk Broad’s famously tranquil setting. One of her favourite spots is a secluded lodge called The Water Cabin by Nor-folk. She says: “This waterside, cedar-clad cabin sits in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, on the bank of the River Thurne. It has been lovingly restored inside and the interior has a minimal style with all the comforts you need for a retreat away. I love the location of this place – right on the water but also close to so many amazing beaches and walks in Norfolk”.
Simon & Jen (@theseptemberchronicles)
The Cotswolds nabbed the number one spot for London-based hubby and wife influencers, Simon and Jen. Describing the postcard-perfect area, they say: “If you've ever seen a photo of the perfect English cottage, it was most likely taken here. We fell head over heels for the charm of the Cotswolds on a whirlwind day trip from London a few years ago and it has since become our favourite corner of the UK to escape to. Visit in the summer to see the villages draped in roses and ivy, and enjoy some sunshine in a bucolic English pub garden. Or, travel here at Christmas time for a truly magical experience, with scenes straight out of a storybook.”
Tim Monaghan (@tim_monaghan_photography)
Speaking about Cornwall's natural beauty, travel photographer Tim says: "Do I have to say anything more? With its turquoise seas and relaxed atmosphere, when on the beach, you could easily feel like you are in Spain or Greece. If you aren't a beach sort of person, then there are also loads of other activities including the Eden Project, which is a charity that helps people learn about the natural world. Here, you’ll find massive Biomes housing the largest indoor rainforest, stunning plants, animals and exhibitions. The Biomes are also surrounded by incredible gardens for you to explore."
Milly Kenny-Ryder (@millykr)
Food and Travel photographer Milly recently discovered Suffolk but it still makes it to the top of her list. She says: “Suffolk is a new discovery for me. I love its picturesque towns, long walks on the beach with fish and chips, and a stop at the perfect pink bakery, Pump Street Bakery.” Situated on the east coast of England, Suffolk combines charming villages, medieval towns, over 40 miles of coastline and ancient woodlands. It appeals to everyone, whether you’re looking for a long and lazy day by the sea or to deep dive into Constable Country.
9. Isle of Skye
James Wright (@jamwrights)
Few can fail to be charmed by the Isle of Skye, the largest island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. For travel photographer James, the most enchanting backdrop on the island is Ruhba Hunish, the most northerly point right on the tip of the peninsula. Speaking about its breathtaking beauty, James says: “It almost feels like the end of the world. There’s a bothy on the clifftop called The Lookout that is part of the Mountain Bothy Association. You can see whales from here if you're lucky.... It's a place to feel the passage of time in.” He recommends the drive along the mountain pass between Applecross and Tornapress for sparkling sunset views too.
Antoine Bouchet (@antbuchet)
At the opposite end of the UK is travel photographer Antoine Bouchet’s favourite location in the UK. For him, Kent wraps up a variety of beautiful landscapes in one picturesque county, moments from London. He says: “Kent is also known as the garden of England and is blessed with the most stunning coastline. I can usually be found walking around the surreal Dungeness area with my camera or battling the winds on Seven Sisters cliffs. If you prefer a bit of history and a little culture, there’s Canterbury’s cathedral or Dover castle. When in Kent, my day usually ends with a refreshing drink and a dozen oysters in the little seaside town of Whitstable.”
For travel photographer Shadzii, cities packed with sights, people and history provide the best backdrops. Speaking about Scotland’s capital city, he says: “It has a unique beauty. There’s a medieval old town and an elegant Georgian new town, with its gardens and neoclassical buildings. The general urban scenery of Edinburgh is a blend of ancient structures and modern architecture, which gives the city a unique character. I'm a fan of old architecture and love capturing photos of them.”
12. Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland
Nicholas J R White (@nicholasjrwhite)
For travel photographer Nicholas, nothing compared to the wild and rugged beauty of the Cairngorm Mountains. He says: “Although the West Coast of Scotland is undeniably beautiful, I’ve probably spent more time hiking the Cairngorms in the eastern Highlands. It’s the largest National Park in the UK, and in my experience offers more opportunities to dodge the crowds of people flocking to the West Coast. It also sits away from the North Coast 500 route, meaning accommodation and campsites are a little softer on the wallet. The landscape is incredibly diverse, arguably the closest we can get to wilderness in the British Isles.”
Mona Jones (@monalogue)
Photographer and curator Mona is an expert in all things countryside and nostalgia, which is why Dorset ranks highly on her top destinations in the UK. Mona says: “ Dorset has so much to offer for photographers. My favourite spots are Durdle Door and West Lulworth. There’s a selection of other quaint villages to explore too.” Durdle Door is one of Dorset’s most iconic landmarks. The spectacular natural arch formed from a layer of hard limestone standing almost vertically out of the sea. It’s a must-visit if you’re visiting and sure to make one of your most memorable holiday snaps.
Bal Bhatla (@mrwhisper)
For some travel photographers, nothing beats a pulsing city backdrop – and for photographer Bal, London is the pinnacle. Speaking about the capital city, he says: “The Southbank London is a must-see location. I’d suggest kicking off at the London Eye and heading towards Tower Bridge for sunset. Along the way, you’ll be able to experience the city from some of its most iconic vantage points, with countless photo opportunities. Street food, street performers, restaurants, bars, the theatre, a skatepark, I mean the list just keeps going on and on.”
Mike Kus (@mikekus)
Describing the oft-Instagrammed island of Jersey, photographer Mike Kus says: “there’s just so much to do in what is a relatively small area. There’s history, rocky coves, surf beaches, harbours and beautiful walks all over the island.” Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, which lie between England and France, but it’s still only five miles long. Think sweeping dunes, miles of unspoilt beaches set between craggy cliffs and pretty fishing harbours. For the ultimate views, Le Braye slip offers views of the Rocco Tower silhouetted by the sun. It’s a winning shot.
16. Calder Valley, West Yorkshire
Jane Samuels (@janesamuels)
Artist and photographer Jane has lived in the Calder Valley for over seven years, but she still can’t get bored of it. Describing the West Yorkshire Dale, Jane says: “We have the vibrant and arty Hebden Bridge, the beautiful Todmorden with its art shops, and the ‘Incredible Edible’ (you'll find food growing in the streets here). There’s so many beautiful wooded hillsides and valleys with waterfalls and bluebell woods too. It's also close to Manchester, which means big nights out are followed by mornings walking in woodland or along the canal.”
17. The Northumberland Coast
Katherine Livesey (@katherine.livesey)
Speaking about Northumberland’s breathtaking coastline, author and photographer Katherine says: “Northumberland has a hidden magic, and the coastline has it in bucket-loads. The wide expanses of sandy beaches, the crumbling castles, the history hiding behind every bend... it's a unique place and I'd argue it's the UK's best-kept secret.” Now a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Northumberland Coast stretches across 40 miles of shoreline. It runs from the River Coquet estuary, across historic fishing villages and secluded beaches, all the way up to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England’s northernmost town.
18. Cambrian Mountains, Wales
Chris Buxton (@buxtonc)
Travel photographer Chris says: “I've always been drawn to locations that are less touristy and more off-the-beaten-track. I’ve spent a lot of time in mid-Wales for that reason, particularly around and the Cambrian mountains. It’s got a wilder side to it, from the reservoirs to the perfect night skies.” Also known as the “Green Desert of Wales”, the Cambrian Mountains is one of the remotest and sparsely-populated regions in the country. But they’re also one of the most beautiful – vibrant, varied and totally unique.
19. The Isle of Mull, Scotland
Craig Jones (@craigjoneswildlifephotography)
Wildlife photographer Craig prefers quieter, less well-trodden destinations – and the Isle of Mull is the perfect example. Less well known than neighbouring Skye, the Isle of Mull is the second-largest island in the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. It combines mythical landscapes with reams of history and tradition, as well as some of the best wildlife spotting in the country. You can take a boat trip out to Fingal’s Cave on Staff, which has inspired artists including Mendelssohn, Keats and Wordsworth. Sir Walter Scott’s once said it is “one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld.”
20. Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear
Thomas Heaton (@heatonthomas)
For landscape photographer Thomas, Whitley Bay is a cut above anywhere else in the UK. Thomas says: “It has one of the best coastlines in the UK. It also has a beautiful lighthouse, a vast nature reserve and the streets are packed with small, local businesses offering goods and services you can’t get from multinational chains and retail parks. Located in the northeast, around 10 miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne, Whitley Bay was once a mining and fishing settlement on the North Sea Coast. It transformed into a popular holiday resort in the early 19th century and you can still see reminders of it, like the white-domed ‘Spanish City’ concert hall.
21. Scottish Highlands
Tom Kahler (@tomkahler)
Photographer Tom is big on automotive and adventures, so it’s no surprise that the Scottish Highlands makes it to number one on his list. The dramatic and mountainous landscape is also famous for its road trip opportunities. From coastal towns along the North Coast 500 to rambling castle ruins along the Highland Tourist Route, there are dozens of spectacular drives to choose from. You can even imitate James Bond in Skyfall’s iconic car chase, sandwiched between the snow-capped mountains of Glen Coe. Beyond the driving, there’s a staggering array of experiences to enjoy, from watching dolphins off Moray Firth to climbing Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK.
22. Hastings, Sussex
T Schang (@tschang)
London-based T Schang has a soft spot for this underrated gem and says: “This seaside town is a hidden gem full of surprises, from its award-winning pier and pastel-coloured beach huts to its lovely independent shops and historical castle! Go on the funicular, with its Victorian wooden coaches right to the top of West Hill for the bird's eye view of the town and the beaches. I personally like to have a wander around the old town to browse the antique shops, bookstores and cute cafes too!”
23. Ogwen Valley, Snowdonia
Beth Squire (@beasquire)
Unsurprisingly, for British adventure and lifestyle photographer Beth, it’s the wilder patches of the UK that most appeal to her. Speaking about the rugged beauty of this specific part of the Snowdonia National Park, she says: “Ogwen Valley has so many things to offer. Not only is there Llyn Idwal, which is a nice walk and a beautiful place to wild swim, you also have mountains like Tryfan and Glyder Fawr, which offer incredible views of the whole valley. If you’re willing to get up quite early, the sunrises there are beautiful too!”
24. Burnham Market, Norfolk
Kathryn Holeywell (@wanderforawhile)
London-based Kathryn can’t resist quintessential English villages and for her, Burnham Market is the best. She says: “It’s a tiny village along the North Norfolk coast that is so charming, it looks like a film set. There’s a lovely hotel and restaurant, some delis and a few shops too.” It’s a popular spot with out-of-towners and has recently been dubbed “Chelsea-on-Sea”. It’s no surprise why, with over a mile of glorious coast, a large green surrounded by flint cottages and dozens of trendy restaurants, wine bars and pubs. It’s possibly one of Norfolk’s loveliest villages.
25. Assynt, The Highlands
Richard Gaston (Richard Gaston (@richardgaston)
Travel photographer and author of ‘Wild Guide Scotland’ Richard is an expert in finding the wild side of Scotland. Assynt, a small parish in the North West Highlands, is his favourite spot. He describes it as: “Home to rugged beauty. It’s a place of distinctively shaped mountains (Suilven & Stac Pollaidh) that rise steeply from the lochan scenery, a paradise of beaches with turquoise water and white sandy beaches (Clachtoll and Achmelvich) and rich in history with ancient castles and ruins like Ardvreck Castle. Assynt is stunningly diverse and a treat for any of those interested in a remarkable road trip around one of the UK’s most beautiful areas.”